Cycling and culture: Two wheels to travel with imagination

Bike Culture & Tips

Cycling and culture: Two wheels to travel with imagination
August 2018

The bike is a wonderful means of transportation. We all know that.
On the seat of your bicycle, you can reach amazing destinations, breath-taking landscapes, uncontaminated lands. Again, nothing surprising in that.
But, what perhaps not everyone knows is that thanks to a bike you can go on fantastic trips, not in exotic lands, but in that immense universe composed of thoughts, imagination and beauty that is culture.
Yes, two wheels can take you there, too. How?

Thanks to initiatives like "Fahrradkino" in Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin. It’s a drive-in where the energy powering the projector showing the film is generated by lots and lots of bicycles connected to the dynamo. People pedal to generate the energy needed to project the films.
The idea was born of the collaboration between the Taschengeldfirma association and the Energieseminar group of Technischen Universität.
The students involved in this project, plus some major donations, have led to the creation of the ecological system that uses the same principle as the bicycle dynamo, only much bigger, with 12 large alternators.
The first film shown was the French-Senegalese film "La Pirogue", directed by Moussa Touré.

Again, concerning the seventh art, 31-year-old Frenchman Vincent Hanrion had an idea similar to that of Berlin: he’s travelling the world with his association, bringing cinema to remote and poor areas, thanks to a bicycle equipped with a pedal-powered generator.
Here again, energy is generated by pedalling to show short films on the environment, on international solidarity and on new farming techniques in countries and regions without electricity. Cinécyclo is the name of this wonderful project, born after a six-month stint in Senegal during which Vincent offered villages without electricity the experience of going to the movies. From November 2015 to June 2016, the young Frenchman travelled 3000 km, showed 100 films to 11 000 spectators thanks to his special bicycle.
Since that time, Cinécyclo Tours have become popular on other continents, and aim to promote local development in rural areas with the support of various partners. By projecting films on environmental protection or on new farming techniques in local languages, and through thematic workshops, the Cinécyclo project hopes to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of the villages concerned.

Then there are projects linking bikes and books.
Cycling for libraries is an itinerant conference (on two wheels) designed and organised by librarians, which has been promoting the importance of the role of libraries and sustainable lifestyles in northern Europe since 2011, based on values such as cultural openness, free access to information, internationalism, lifelong learning and innovation.

Books on Bikes is an original project of the Seattle Public Library: librarians on bike go to parks, markets and other public places with a load of books and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Users of this service can join the library, borrow e-books and share their impressions of the books they’ve read.

Finally, Bicycool Library is a group ride for book enthusiasts and cyclists. The initiative was organised by some librarians to involve and get to know library patrons and to bring as many people as possible closer to reading and to cycling. This wonderful project in Poland has reached 3500 participants with 100 cycling trips organized.

So, you can go "anywhere" by bike, and in so many original ways.
Not just on asphalt, dirt, uphill, tree-lined streets, city streets, or along country lanes… but also suggestions, excitement, thoughts, cultures and imaginary places explored through a director or writer’s imagination.
Yes, a bicycle can take you there, too. Just move your legs and open your heart and mind. It’s that simple.

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